NZBF: A strong hive and a weak hive

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up
5
2
Wellington
Experience
Beginner
I have two hives that are a bit more than a nucleus but not what you’d call a full hive. Hives are about 5m apart. Both have been treated for varroa and showing about 1% varroa numbers. One is stronger in supplies and numbers of bees and seems to be robbing from the weaker one. Weaker one has a reduced entrance and a robbing guard and I can see bees still bringing in pollen. Any suggestions on how to manage things? Feed the weak one in the evening, particularly a cool one, to build up stores? Would feeding the stronger one at the start of the day keep them occupied and make them less inclined to go out robbing? My newbie thoughts, but any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks.
 

Grant

Staff member
Founder Member
Platinum
10,486
4,926
Welcome. I'm sure someone will answer your question shortly but in the meantime, feel free to consider creating some hive log book entries
 
8,648
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
difficult to say without seeing them. what you call "weak/strong" is very subjective.
pics help.
two hives that are a bit more than a nucleus but not what you’d call a full hive.
going by that i would combine the two. unite the weak one on top of the stronger one. papering/air fresher method. do it during some poor weather when they are not active and won't be active the next day or so. that reduces the amount of bees you lose.
then feed, pollen sub as well if you can.
 

Josh

Gold
972
713
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
My bet is that the two hives aren’t robbing each other. But one is weak and one less so.

How many seasons old are these colonies?

My question for the forum… should the colonies be united (killing the weaker queen to avoid loosing both) or put one over the other with a QE and run it as a double queen colonie. Feed them hard, 🤞they get through and split again in spring.

I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but just thinking
 
8,648
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
My question for the forum… should the colonies be united (killing the weaker queen to avoid loosing both) or put one over the other with a QE and run it as a double queen colonie. Feed them hard, 🤞they get through and split again in spring.
double queen.
so join them over a queen excluder. (keep both excluders on the hive)
they will look after each other better and expand faster than two separate.
only real catch i've had doing that is sometimes a queen will stop laying and you think shes dead and remove the excluder.
don't be two hasty to write her off, often she will get up and going later on in spring.
 
5
2
Wellington
Experience
Beginner
difficult to say without seeing them. what you call "weak/strong" is very subjective.
pics help.

going by that i would combine the two. unite the weak one on top of the stronger one. papering/air fresher method. do it during some poor weather when they are not active and won't be active the next day or so. that reduces the amount of bees you lose.
then feed, pollen sub as well if you can.
What photos are most useful? Frames covered in bees, frames with no bees on to see brood/stores, bees outside the hive?
 
  • Like
Reactions: tristan

Josh

Gold
972
713
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
What photos are most useful? Frames covered in bees, frames with no bees on to see brood/stores, bees outside the hive?
It does depend on what the question is.

For hive “strength” take off the top cover and take a photo down on the frames (don’t smoke or disturb, this will show the number of frames covered etc) Then a photo of a “typical” frame of brood covered in bees. And finally shake of the majority of bees (like an AFB check) so we can see the brood area to get an idea of laying pattern, signs of disease etc.

The more experienced guys will have other suggestions maybe.

Also look back in the historical posts and archives and you’ll see examples of what people have photographed before.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tristan
8,648
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Both have been treated for varroa and showing about 1% varroa numbers.
i noticed your diary entry and you had treated with Apilife Var and you just put in 2nd treatment.
those details are rather important.

what method are you using to measure varroa?
 
5
2
Wellington
Experience
Beginner
Cool! I thought I may have over thought it, Thanks for that @tristan that makes my evenin
i noticed your diary entry and you had treated with Apilife Var and you just put in 2nd treatment.
those details are rather important.

what method are you using to measure varroa?
Logbook entry was just written as trying to see if this is a useful way to record stuff. At the moment I can’t see that it is as I can’t understand the best way to produce a record of the next two inspections I did. The second treatment t refers to was a month ago. Did an alcohol wash a week ago on bees from a frame with brood to get the varroa measure.
 
8,648
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Logbook entry was just written as trying to see if this is a useful way to record stuff. At the moment I can’t see that it is as I can’t understand the best way to produce a record of the next two inspections I did.
would pay just to do it when you do the inspection rather than try to back date it. its end of the season its not a big deal.

Did an alcohol wash a week ago on bees from a frame with brood to get the varroa measure.
so i assume the 1% is 3 mites per 300 bees?
 
5
2
Wellington
Experience
Beginner
would pay just to do it when you do the inspection rather than try to back date it. its end of the season its not a big deal.


so i assume the 1% is 3 mites per 300 bees?
Not back dating, I’ve kept a log elsewhere, just seeing if this is better, but as I said it doesn’t seem very user friendly as you need to write a new post each time as the template is not in the replies to keep a running log, unless I’m missing something.
Yes 3 mites per 300.
 


Top